Introductory Session Ideas


Advice


My brother is going to run a few games for myself and a small group soon. One player is new and two are a bit rusty so I am planning on running a short session to introduce the basic concepts and refresh their memory.

I'm thinking about positioning, AoOs, natural hazards, difficult terrain, spells, skills, and roleplay as the main topics to cover. I'd like to make skills important throughout the session and for simplicity I'm splitting them into 5 groups - Athletics (STR skills and Acrobatics), Knowledge (INT skills, Profession, and maybe UMD?), Perceptive (Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival), and Social (CHA skills, probably not UMD though). In the spoiler below I go over the basic concept for the session I have in mind and a vague description of the challenges faced.

The Burning Orphanage (Because Why Not?):

An orphanage owned by a wealthy noble is burning down! Party members ought to jump at the chance to participate either for the purpose of saving children or for personal gain by seeking a reward from the owner later. After finding a way in (INT or WIS ability check to realize they should look for an open window or door because backdrafts) they will discover a group of bandits setting fire to drapes and blankets as they go. Combat will see the enemy trying to push PCs into burning squares, trip them as the fire spreads, etc. Fallen furniture and burning debris will create difficult terrain, players can get a height advantage on stairs, smoke will force Fortitude saves to avoid taking penalties as creatures get smoke in their eyes, etc. Reflex saves will allow creatures to dodge falling debris and backdrafts.

After a set number of rounds the enemies are either beaten or they intentionally collapse a support beam on their way out, which may make the following skill challenges harder. The party will need to locate the children and find their way back outside. Some will be behind locked doors, some will require Acrobatics or Climb to reach, and some may require coaxing through Social skills. Once everyone is out of the building Phase 2 of the session begins as the players try to find evidence on the bandits to determine why they would target the building. During this time the players are given a number of potential avenues to pursue individually - Knowledge, Perceptive, and Social checks may all turn up evidence - until they pass a certain number of checks and piece together the clues to determine the noble recently took out insurance on the building as a result of increasing costs and concerns about the building's safety.

In Phase 3 the group will locate the noble and take down him and his goons before being presented with a moral quandary - do they turn him in to the authorities for trial, knowing his status and money may give him a chance to escape justice, or do they take matters into their own hands? A short epilogue will be ran depending on the choice to tie up the story.

So, what do you think? If you have any suggestions or alterations in mind, or even a completely different session that you think (or know from experience) will work well, please post them here! The practice session is on Thursday around 4:30. Thank you in advance for your ideas!


Question on Phase 2: What's the motive for the players to trace the bandits? To me, it seems they already accomplished their moral / financial goals by either saving the children's lives or by receiving payment from the noble in the end of Phase 1.

Question for clarification: Did the noble have homeowners insurance on his orphanage so he could staged an attack to get more money? It wasn't very clear to me when I read the OP.


voideternal wrote:

Question on Phase 2: What's the motive for the players to trace the bandits? To me, it seems they already accomplished their moral / financial goals by either saving the children's lives or by receiving payment from the noble in the end of Phase 1.

Question for clarification: Did the noble have homeowners insurance on his orphanage so he could staged an attack to get more money? It wasn't very clear to me when I read the OP.

In Phase 2 the noble was expecting to get the building burned down quickly with little evidence left over - the bandits would slip in at night and set fire to the place, leave without a trace, and he'd be able to collect on his insurance. What he didn't expect was that no more than four people of a roughly equivalent level would gather in one place to handle a series of level-appropriate encounters (rookie mistake, every villain knows that's a guarantee). To cover his tracks he "hires" them as "investigators", pointing them in the wrong directions and falsifying evidence to buy time until he can collect and skip town. Of course he offers a huge reward for "solving" the "tragic fire mystery" so they don't end up bringing anything to the guards.

And for your clarification, that's the idea - he started paying for insurance a couple months prior as he planned on making an easy return (and profit) on his investment.


I'd just make sure you detail it in a fun and engaging way. Looks cool!


I have the final party classes now.

I will play a Warlock Vigilante, focused on ranged damage with Mystic Bolts and support with Spells. The next most experienced is playing a Halfling Strategist Cavalier (Order of the Paw) focused on melee damage and combat maneuvers (long story). The third most experienced is playing an Arcane Healer Bard, but I don't have a build for that one yet. The total newb is playing a Bolt Ace Gunslinger and will be using the Called Shots and Ranged Combat Maneuver feats in addition to general DPS. We have no divine casters or full casters so it will be a little rough but it shouldn't be undoable.

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